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1, 2, 3, 4… with a clenched fist and a blast of his alto-sax, Seun Kuti launches into ‘IMF’, the opening track on A Long Way To The Beginning – his tightest, most electrifying album yet. This time around no one escapes the Afrobeat warrior’s ire: not corrupt Nigerian leaders or sly western powers. Not bankers, corporate greedheads or any lying, cheating international mother***ker anywhere.
‘My people are coming for what’s ours,’ sings Kuti, 31, in his powerful, stentorian voice. ‘Going all out ‘cause it’s now or never, ‘breakin’ the chain, we gon’ sever…’
It’s been a struggle to get to now. There were those who criticized his decision to front his father’s band; who said it was arrogant, even hubristic, to try and fill his father’s shoes. This was never Seun’s aim: “Fela will always be Number One,” says the Lagos-based scion, who inherited the extraordinary Egypt 80 orchestra in 1997 when his father died.
“What I want is for young people in Africa to believe in Africa, to come together for Africa.” A smile. “What I want is to inspire change.”
And so Fela’s youngest child has full-steamed ahead with his own inimitable brand of Afrobeat: a sound as compelling as it was when Fela Anikulapo Kuti first fused jazz, funk and soul with highlife and other African rhythms – but with topical lyrics and contemporary influences giving it a modern twist. So far there have been two critically acclaimed albums: 2008’s Many Things and 2011’s From Africa With Fury: Rise.
With A Long Way To The Beginning, we’ve arrived where the journey starts.
01 – IMF
02 – African Airways
03 – Higher Consciousness
04 – Ohun Aiye
05 – Kalakuta Boy
06 – African Smoke
07 – Black Woman
Stream Seun Kuti’s new album – A Long Way To The Beginning via NPR a full week before release (5/27)
Pre-order your LP/CD HERE
“Seun Kuti is at his strongest when he’s updating both Fela’s philosophies and the Afrobeat sound. It would be so easy for Seun — and Femi, for that matter — to do little more than tour the world as a tribute act. But instead, Seun Kuti brings in smart collaborators. Pianist and composer Robert Glasper produced A Long Way to the Beginning with him; Glasper also appears in several tracks as keyboardist. Dead Prez’s M1, who has made something of a secondary career as a guest artist on international artists’ politically charged tracks, contributes a verse to “IMF.” Ghanaian-American rapper Blitz the Ambassador opens “African Smoke,” and German-Nigerian singer Nneka brings soulful vocals to the laid-back closing track, “Black Woman.”
Just as in Fela’s music, there remains ample room for joy, humor and exuberance amid the darkness and fury; the sweat, funk and beat dictate that right from the start. These tracks are for dancing — if you’re not moving, something may well be wrong. In “African Airways,” Kuti sings, “We no know where we dey go, but they tell us make we fly.” OK, so Kuti happens to be warning against neocolonialism in Africa in this track, but it’s a good metaphor for this album. We might not realize where Seun Kuti is taking us when we get on board with A Long Way to the Beginning — but he sure knows where he’s headed, and how to get us all there.” -NPR
Finding Fela tells the story of Fela Kuti’s life (1938 – 1997), his music, and his social and
political importance. This in-depth look at the man who created Afrobeat (a fusion of Jazz,
traditional West African rhythms, Funk, Highlife, and psychedelic rock) brings audiences close
to Mr. Kuti’s fight against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 1970s and 80s. With his
audacious music and a great deal of courage, Fela Kuti helped bring a change towards
democracy in Nigeria, promoted Pan Africanist politics to the entire world and became an
inspiration in the global fight for the rights of all oppressed people.
Finding Fela – National Theatrical Dates
NEW YORK, NY – August 1 at IFC CENTER
WASHINGTON, DC – August 8 at LANDMARK’S E STREET CINEMA
LOS ANGELES, CA – August 15 at LANDMARK’S NUART THEATRE
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – August 15 at LANDMARK’S OPERA PLAZA
PHILADELPHIA, PA – August 15 at LANDMARK’S RITZ AT THE BOURSE
BOSTON, MA – August 15 at LANDMARK’S KENDALL SQUARE
ATLANTA, GA – August 15 at LANDMARK’S MIDTOWN
The Double-CD Soundtrack will be released 7.29 via Knitting Factory Records
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80‘s third studio album A Long Way To The Way Beginning, co-produced by Robert Glasper, promises to be a politically-charged modern afrobeat affair that reshapes his father’s message for the present. “This album is a soundtrack for the mindset of most young people in Africa today,” mentions Seun, “As African youth we have to stand for what we want.”
Watch the album trailer via okayafrica
“Happy” is probably my favorite song of the past year, and I wanted to make a blend that wasn’t too obvious, but made sense upon first listen. I thought the shuffle tempo, driving bass lines and horns of Fela Kuti could provide a nice backdrop, so I chopped up his classic, “Colonial Mentality,” and this is the end result. Hope you enjoy!” -dj100proof
LISTEN TO THE FULL MASHUP HERE
Fela Kuti – Limited edition 7″ of ‘Se E Tun De / Waka Waka’
Record Store Day – April 19, 2014
KThe release’s A-Side “Se E Tun De” features a more jazz-oriented version of Fela’s signature afrobeat sound. Se E Tun De / Waka Waka will be available exclusively in stores on Record Store Day April 19.
Exclusive stream of “Se E Tun De” via okayafrica
“Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 are set to release their third album, A Long Way From the Beginning on May 27th. With a guest verse from Dead Prez co-founder M1, “IMF,” the forthcoming album’s opening salvo, is a hard-charging Afrobeat track that takes direct aim at the controversial org International Monetary Fund. (Although here it’s renamed “International Mother Fucker.”)
The corresponding Jerome Bernard-directed clip casts Kuti in two roles: as an African citizen, and as a businessman offering a briefcase which surely contains cash, but which also comes with a set of handcuffs. The money comes to transform everything it touches, distorting a small army of large suit-wearers into zombified villains by the end. A Long Way From the Beginning is produced by Robert Glasper and arrives in the U.S. on May 27.” –Spin
“IMF” from Seun Kuti’s new album A Long Way To The Beginning available here : http://po.st/ALongWay
Out on May 27th in the US
In the wake of the recently passed “anti-gay” law by our government and President Goodluck Jonathan, there has been much speculation online as to how Fela Kuti, my father, would react. So let us get this clear, and I will also express my own views on the matter.
My father would not support this law. He would know why the law was passed: as a way of distracting the population from the main problems we face today – poverty, lack of electricity and services, corruption, mismanagement, and so on and so forth.
That being said, Fela may have had some reservations about homosexuality itself. Who is to say? No one can speak for him. But Fela would not have had any reservations about upholding and protecting basic human rights. The right to choose your own sexuality and sexual behavior –as long as it is between consenting adults– is one such human right.
It’s a difficult topic for a lot of people in Nigeria to understand as it’s a very new issue that has never been quite public. Our culture and traditions and certain religious values make it more difficult for many to accept or understand, and it will take some time for those people to learn to respect the fundamental human rights of others to express themselves freely. People have said that being gay is “un-African” – I’m not an expert on our history, but I don’t know of anywhere the topic is mentioned in our history (I am not referring to Christian orthodoxy that was brought by non-African missionaries).
The gay community in Nigeria will have to be patient and realize acceptance of homosexuality is a gradual process which will take a very long time – especially in the north of Nigeria. But they must slowly put their case forward. They will need a lot of diplomatic support, and they will have to fight the law. They might definitely lose, but they will just have to keep on fighting for their fundamental right to live. There is no other choice.
We have to keep talking about the issue of gay rights, but it’s the government’s responsibility to take the lead to defend people’s fundamental rights. Citizens must have the right to be who they want to be.
-Femi Kuti (via Okayafrica)
Fela Kuti is now available on bandcamp. Fela Kuti featured in this weeks Bandcamp weekly!
Fela Kuti on Bandcamp
okayafrica will be premiering exclusive videos from the Felabration held in London last December.
Kicking it off is Dele Sosimi‘s rendition of “Too Much Information,” BALOJI‘s live version of his contribution to Red +Hot Fela “Buy Africa,” Shingai Shoniwa performing “Lady” and Dele Sosimi, Sam Duckworth, ESKA & The Goldsmith Vocal Ensemble tackling “Water No Get Enemy.”
Keep checking back every day this week for more videos to drop.